Beijing, Aug 25 (EFE).- The environmental watchdog Greenpeace on Wednesday urged the Chinese government to enable a scientific assessment of power adequacy, installed coal power capacity, and the risk of building more coal-fired power plants over pollution concerns.
The Greenpeace statement raised questions over the provincial governments’ approval of 24 coal-dependent energy projects with a 5.2-gigawatt capacity that can go ahead without the approval of the Beijing authorities.
“Local governments still have the power to approve new coal on their own. It still doesn’t require final sign off from the central government. This dynamic between the central and local governments is still a core problem,” Beijing-based Greenpeace researcher Li Danqing told EFE.
“The central government’s decree to ‘control coal’ doesn’t necessarily mean not approving any new coal at all. That’s why we are advocating tighter supervision and specific policies to limit coal’s expansion,” he explained.
According to Greenpeace, the most common justification given by the authorities for carrying out this type of project is “securing long-term electricity supply,” which worries environmentalists.
“If coal capacity remains option number one to secure energy supply, and provinces see that securing energy ranks as a national interest, then that’s a clear pipeline to continue building coal. Reliance on coal is turning energy security and economy into sources of inertia, not development,” said Li in the statement.
In this regard, Greenpeace recommended that Chinese provincial governments look for alternatives and invest in clean energy, giving the example of the eastern province of Shandong, “which previously suffered coal dependency but this year had no coal-fired power projects in the pipeline.”
In September last year, President Xi Jinping announced China’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, which was welcomed with relative enthusiasm by the international community.
China responsible for the largest amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the world, equivalent to 27 percent of global emissions in 2017, according to the online assessment platform Global Carbon Atlas.
In this context, Greenpeace stressed that the approval of the aforementioned 24 projects sends “mixed signals on coal.”
Sources from the sector, who asked not to be named, revealed to EFE that these projects could result in China emitting more polluting gases in 2060 than its current levels, and was looking to achieve carbon neutrality largely through the purchase of carbon credits moving towards nuclear energy. EFE